AN alcoholic ex-con who had a huge arsenal of guns and ammunition at his home, just over the road from the village primary school, has been jailed for two years.

Terence Goodship had high powered air weapons, one of which was converted to a shotgun, and ammunition in the shed in his garden.

But the 63-year-old, who is banned from having firearms because of past offending, escaped a mandatory five year term despite having a rifle with a shortened barrel.

A judge found that because of his ill-health, after he suffered a stroke in 2006, and the nature of the gun he could avoid the mandatory sentence.

Police went to his Cherhill home, which is across the road from the school, in June last year because of reports he was threatening to kill himself with a knife.

When an officer arrived he found the defendant drunk, and no longer with the blade, but he was concerned with what he found in the shed.

He noticed pellet holes in the walls and door of the building which he felt were so deep that the airguns must be over powered.

While the door and windows were locked, and some of the items were in a gun cabinet, the building only had a perspex roof, making it possible to break into.

Among the armoury was a BSA Supersport air rifle which was high powered and had a different, shortened, barrel fitted to it.

It also had a silencer and scope on it so it could be used for hunting and target practice.

Goodship, of Middle Lane, pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon, having a firearm without a certificate and a shotgun without a certificate.

He also admitted five counts of having ammunition without a certificate and having a firearm when prohibited, as he had been jailed for at least three years in the past.

Among the bullets were 20 Magnum .375 live rounds, a further 50 .308 live rounds, ten .22 calibre and 81 .38 calibre live rounds as well as a 9mm round.

The court heard he was jailed for 30 months in 1995 for a firearms offence and six-and-a-half years for causing death by dangerous driving in 1999.

Sam Jones, defending, said “This is an extremely unique prohibited weapon type of case. It is almost a perfect storm for Mr Goodship of circumstances.”

He said the gun was only slightly overpowered and just 4.5cm too short in the barrel, making it prohibited.

Mr Jones said reports found his client seemed much older than his years and added he takes 32 tablets a day.

Jailing him Judge Peter Crabtree said because of the unusual nature of both the case and the defendant there were exceptional circumstances meaning he could avoid the mandatory sentence.

But he added “I am in no doubt from the firearms offences you have committed that the only sentence I can impose, doing my public duty, in one of immediate custody.”